Teen-ager develops county tour

August 14, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Children, put on your walking shoes and grab your gum. You, too, can follow the Bubble Gum Tour to local sites selected for the younger set by a Westminster teen-ager.

"There are many places to see and tour in Carroll County," said Jami L. Szocinski, a June graduate of Westminster High School. "But, I never found anything geared to kids. With my tour, I hope kids will mostly have fun and learn about the county in the process."

After setting her sights on seven locations, Ms. Szocinski, 18, researched each one's background through the Westminster Library and Historical Society of Carroll County. She developed the tour "for the young and the young at heart."

"I didn't know about a lot of these places until I started looking," she said. "Maybe other kids will find the places as neat as I did."

As a city resident, Ms. Szocinski said, she located many places within walking distance of her home that caught her eye and aroused her curiosity. She hopes other youths can benefit from her six months of research.

She included vignettes to appeal to the child in any visitor. Her description of Ascension Episcopal Church contains a brief reference to Leigh Masters, "one of Carroll's favorite ghosts," who is buried in the church cemetery.

"Listen carefully," she wrote. "Maybe, you can hear Leigh and his great grey horse."

Visitors will find directions, background and information on everything from architecture to ghostly inhabitants in her brochure, named "bubble gum" at her mother's suggestion.

"I thought the name was catchy," said Ms. Szocinski. "Kids can chew gum while they are walking."

She chose the Carroll County Farm Museum for its promise "of memories of good times" and "all sorts of things to do."

She did drive out of the city for two stops: Union Mills and Uniontown, both of which offer visitors a chance to walk and look into county history.

"I was a counselor at the Outdoor School this year, and the students visited Union Mills," she said. "The kids just loved watching the workings of the grist mill and seeing the way people used to live."

In Uniontown, visitors can see a one-room schoolhouse, "a bank which looks like it is from a Western movie," and still have time to stop for ice cream at the general store.

The main reason for the brochure, she said, "is to share my appreciation with the rest of the youths who wish to know more about Carroll County."

Her work became a Girl Scout project, for which she received a Gold Award, the highest scouting honor.

With $100 contributed from several friends and family members, she had about 400 brochures printed.

They are available at the Historical Society of Carroll County.

Joan Meekins, director of the county Office of Tourism, called the brochure a good look "at things going on in the county."

Ms. Szocinski will be attending Hood College in Frederick this fall, studying environmental biology. If time permits, she said, she may take a walking tour of that city.

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